Forum Friday: Down the Rabbit Hole, or, The $140,000 GTI

Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to take you on a lengthy trip. A trip that will take us in many directions. A trip that revolves around what looks like a stock MK1 Volkswagen GTI. But this is no ordinary hot hatch. And this is no ordinary build thread. Buckle up ‘cuz we’re going down the Rabbit (GTI) hole.

Where to begin? Let’s start simply: waaaay back in 1983, a young Derek Spratt bought his first car, a Volkswagen Rabbit GTI. Derek loved that car. He courted his wife in that car. He traveled around Canada and the United States in that car. But most importantly, he raced that car. And he recorded a ton of history of the car including all the modifications he did to improve it. You can read all about his first GTI on his website. Derek’s also included a TON of links to articles on the MK1 GTI; this Rabbit hole runs deeeep.

One thing not recorded on his site is why he got rid of that original GTI in 1987. But his love for the original hot hatch never fades, and he pines for another. Fast forward to 2013: Derek finds another 1983 GTI, but this one is silver. At some point, he decides this shouldn’t be any old GTI; he needs to build the “ultimate” GTI. And he documents his build in our forums and on his website.

So what is the “ultimate” GTI? Time to go deeper down the Rabbit hole. If you’re familiar with Singer Design Porsches, it’s kind of like that. Derek says it best himself: “We are trying to build a car with excellent street driv-ability (sic) and manners, a car that looks stock inside and out, but takes on a new dimension when you look under the hood or under the car.” Let’s just say the work that Derek’s done totals more than $140,000.

So on this Friday, take a dive down Derek’s Rabbit hole. Take a walk through his thread in our forums. Or peruse his personal website. Or view his 180+ YouTube videos.

Somewhat sadly, Derek no longer owns this silver GTI. He recently sold it to a very lucky couple; we hope they get years of smiles from this absolutely incredible little car. Thank you, Derek, for sharing it with us all.